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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Wednesdays Thoughts - Mental Illness

via Pinterest

There's a lot of posts going around in the Blogosphere about mental illness and depression which personally, I think is amazing. Mental illness has a horrible stigma around it and it's fabulous that we can all join in and help one another in our battles against mental illness. I'm a very lucky lady who doesn't suffer with this but I have a boyfriend who does. I've not seen a post which talks about the people, family or friends who have a friend who suffers and how they can help. It's a terrible illness to battle as the sufferer but it's also hard for the people who love you and don't have a clue what's going on.

I won't lie - I have spent many a day and night crying on my bed in worry, desperation and even hurt thinking what am I going to do. My boyfriend is my favourite person in the world; he's usually a very happy, positive, hilarious and loving person but whenever he has a down day, he becomes the complete opposite. He's very withdrawn, uninterested and the only love of his life is his computer where he can escape. In truly down epsidoes, he won't speak to anyone and will just sit and play on his computer to escape from what's happening in his head. This is his way of dealing it and he has come really far from when he was first diagnosed. He's not on any sort of anti depressants as they don't seem to do him any good so this is his way of dealing with it, but for me, this is a complete game changer. When we first got together, I often blamed myself thinking I had bought on an episode and sometimes I'd get angry with him for the lack of interest in me, but with a little bit of understanding and changing my perspective, we seem to find a way that makes it works for us both. These are my top tips I would tell anyone who knows anyone that suffers with mental illness to always remember

1. Understand it is not your fault

19 year old me never got this and it took until Christmas last year to fully understand. I accidently messed up my pill over Christmas and spent Boxing Day crying uncontrollably in my parents in law's house over absolutely nothing. I then got more upset over not knowing and it wasn't until my boyfriend pointed out that's how he feels when it's down I could finally go, 'Ooooooh'. I used to think I had done something to make him feel this way or I would often get angry and upset with his lack of interest when I tried to talk it through with him and fix the issue. I didn't understand that it was an illness and kept comparing it to when I felt down, which is usually environmental. I have to remind myself that if he had the flu, I wouldn't blame myself for him getting ill then and it doesn't make sense for me to blame myself for this. Sometimes, you have to take a step back and think 'This person is ill and this is a symptom'. I still struggle with this even now as when I've had a bad day at work and want to vent and he hasn't got any interest, I can take it personally. You just have to breathe and remember, this isn't your fault and neither is it theres

2. Escapism can help

A lot of people say you should deal with the problem head on. This is generally a way I live my life but I've found with depression that escapism is a way of dealing with it and really can help. Boyfriend is an avid gamer and even when he's feeling fine he will live on his computer. When he's feeling OK, we usually sit doing our own thing and converse between ourselves but when he's feeling down he will just play on his computer and not speak to me. I used to find this really insulting that he wouldn't speak to me then dwell that it was my fault. I've learnt to understand that he appreciates the company. In the past, we've also gone to spa days where we can just re-wind or gone out for walk with the dogs to try and get out of his head. You can find fab day outs and spa days on Group On.

3. Talking helps

When I get overwhelmed with boyfriend on one of his down periods, I used to feel as if I couldn't speak to anyone as I'd be judged for being horrible, unsupportive and generally not a very good girlfriend. When I tried to speak• to boyfriend •crying he wasn't very helpful and it made me feel worse 90% of the time. One day, I did speak out to a friend and they told me they go through the same thing as me. It was nice not to feel alone or feel like a monster. I also asked boyfriend to tell me when he feels down so I know not to take anything personally and to just leave him to it. This is the biggest help in our battle with depression. Once he's said he feels down, it's a game changer as I know how to deal with the situation and just be there when he needs me.

Via Pinterest

Mental illness is a horrible, lonely and crushing illness. I hope this helps someone who is either in my situation or even someone who suffers with depression. I'm in no means an expert and only speaking from my experience of living with a sufferer for the past 5 years. If you really are struggling there are loads of fab charities like MIND who can help and have people trained to talk to you and offer advise.

But I will leave it on this note: please remember that you are not alone

Do you have any tips or thoughts on dealing with mental illness? I'd love to hear your experiences!


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